The Herald Sun
Times change for the divine Miss M
BETTE Midler remembers Australia as a “pit” when she last toured 26 years ago.
Now the legendary American singer and actor is enjoying the change she has seen since flying into Sydney on Monday for the Australian leg of her Kiss My Brass world tour.
“There is not one stick of anything that is the same,” Midler said today when asked what she remembered of Australia from her last visit.
“It is just so transformed. I can’t get over it. I mean, it was a pit.
“But it was a lovable pit. It was a thrilling pit. It was like a homey pit and I loved it so much.”
Midler last visited Australia in 1979, selling out an unprecedented 34 shows on her Divine Miss M tour.
This time around, Midler will perform just nine shows, opening in Brisbane on April 8 before travelling to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
“It is the most beautiful show I have ever done,” the New Yorker said of her current tour.
“I am travelling with horns for the first time. It has been a lark.”
The Broadway-esque concert is her biggest-ever and features multiple costume changes and a massive set based on America’s Coney Island theme park.
The concert will include some of Midler’s most popular songs, such as The Rose, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and Wind Beneath My Wings.
And she made it perfectly clear that there will be no lip synching, which has become common among some younger pop stars.
“I have thought of it,” she said.
“I guess because I came up singing and dancing at the same time, it is not so frightening but for a lot of kids, it is a bit scary.”
Midler was good friends with late Australian singer Peter Allen and said she was planning to perform one of his songs, Tenterfield Saddler.
But she pondered what might be appropriate following the suicide of former Crowded House drummer Paul Hester.
“There is so much going on in the Australian music community with the death of Paul Hester and I don’t know,” she said.
At 59, Midler said the Kiss My Brass show was one of her most gruelling yet.
“I get carried away,” she said of the two-hour show. “We train really hard for these shows.”
Midler’s film credits include The Rose, Big Business, Ruthless People, For the Boys, The First Wives Club and most recently The Stepford Wives, with Australia’s Nicole Kidman.
However, she said she never watched any of her films or listened to her own music.
“I don’t listen to my music and I don’t watch my movies because you always remember what happened and what happened is usually something dreadful.
“The food was awful and you got into a fight with this one and such and such threw a pen at you.”
Midler has a reputation for being funny and flamboyant, but says she also has a quieter side.
“I think it is a real struggle to have to pretend to be that,” she said.
“I am very shy. I am a little bit retiring. I kind of save it for the stage.
“I am very interested in living my life like a regular person, in being with people who really do small talk.”